Making a fast and easy permanent label for your quilt

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I showed you how to sew a flanged binding on your quilt and I finished up my art quilt. I just love how Northcott’s Stonehenge Elements fabrics look in my quilt AND how professional the “fake piping” looks on the binding.

Today I had planned to talk about different ways to hang quilts BUT I came up with a different idea instead. …OK – it’s confession time – I have to admit that I HATE putting labels on my quilts. Don’t get me wrong, I think quilts SHOULD have labels, but there’s something in the process of label making that makes me cringe. I have made hundreds of quilts and only a small fraction of them have labels. I know, it’s criminal. But that’s all about to change because I now have a better solution and today I’m going to share with you how to make a fast and easy permanent label for your quilt.

The finished quilt

Different ways to label your quilt

There are lots of different ways to label your quilts. You can make a beautiful hand stitched label like Carla did in her QUILTsocial blog post in July or you can use a pre-made label that you have custom embroidered. You can write your info on a square of fabric or you can use specially made fabric sheets for your printer and create something amazing on your computer. You can hand stitch your label to the back of your quilt or you can use some type of adhesive to stick it on.

I’ve used all of these methods at one time or another, but I haven’t found one that I REALLY liked. I often think, after quilting my quilt, that I should have made a label and sewed it to my backing BEFORE I quilted it so that it would be a permanent piece of the quilt. But of course I never think of it at the right time – I’m usually so excited to get to the quilting that I don’t take time to think about labels!

My new favorite way to label a quilt

I came up with this label method after seeing something similar done with a ribbon as a label. I wanted the label to have some substance, so I decided to layer the fabric with some of my fusible interfacing. I cut one 8″ square of my Stonehenge Elements fabric and one of the interfacing the same size. You could make this square as big or as little as you wanted depending on the size of the quilt and how much information you want to write on it.

Cut one 8″ square of fabric and one 8″ square of fusible interfacing

I then ironed the interfacing to the back of the Stonehenge Elements fabric and then folded the fabric in half diagonally to make a large triangle.

Iron the two together and then fold in half diagonally and press

The next step is to topstitch along to folded edge of the triangle. This will ensure that the edge remains nice and crisp and that the interfacing stays in place. After this, you use an erasable fabric marker such as an Heirloom Fast Fade Erasable Fabric Marker or a Frixion pen to mark lines across the label that are parallel to the folded edge.

Use an erasable pen to draw lines parallel to the fold

I then used a permanent fine tipped fabric marker to write all of my information onto the labels using the lines as a guide. After this step following your erasable pen manufacturers information to remove the guidelines.

The label is then pinned to the BACK of the quilt in one corner so that the raw edges of the label align with the raw edges of the quilt.

Pin to the back corner of the quilt

You then sew on your binding using whatever method you prefer. Since we used the flanged binding method yesterday to finish off my art quilt, you can see the stitching on the back of the quilt (and the label) along the edge of the binding. If you preferred to hand stitch your binding you wouldn’t have this stitching showing on the back.

The label once the binding has been sewn on

This type of label is easy to make and really HARD to remove!! That’s an important feature if you’re displaying quilts in public places or loaning them out to shops or shows like I do. I think I’ll be using this method from now on to label all of my quilts! Now that you know how to make a fast and easy permanent label for your quilt I hope that you’ll be inspired to label all of your quilts too!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4:  Sewing a flanged binding onto your quilt

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Diana November 20, 2016 - 12:50 pm
I don't make many labels, either. I like this way; easy & sturdy. I suppose it could be done in the upper corner and used to help hang the quilt. Just put another triangle in the opposite corner and use a dowel to hang.
Carey Hurst November 19, 2016 - 9:01 am
Firstly the finished quilt is stunning . I am so thrilled to have found your blog. I am about to start making quilts. I made a few when I was younger one with my mom and a few with Grandmas quilting club, all hand sewn . I remember the tiny squares with their info ( just their name or made with love by Grandma type of thing ) , so this is such an amazing idea .
Deanna Ellett November 18, 2016 - 8:05 am
Yes! I love this idea. Thanks!
MJ Ibarguen November 18, 2016 - 7:31 am
Another way to label your quilts is to label the backing fabric before basting/quilting the 3 layers together. I'm lucky enough to have an embroidery machine so I load it up with my backing fabric, but you could also use the lettering found on lots of sewing machines these days. In this way, the label cannot be torn off the quilt, and it will not wear off with laundering. I include the name of the quilt or pattern, my name, month, year, town and if this quilt will hang as a sample in my LQS, the type of batting I used.
Cathy Casciato November 17, 2016 - 12:19 am
Thanks for a quick easy labeling technique. I feel strongly that quilts should be labeled, but along with many of my fellow quilters, I find that labeling is a "housekeeping" chore that I either put off indefinitely or don't do properly because I'm in a rush. With this easy method I may even manage to add the label before quilting so that it can't be easily removed.
Jody Hogan November 16, 2016 - 10:06 am
Thanks for the article lots of great ideas
Jan Marshall November 16, 2016 - 12:39 am
I love the article on how to sew a permanent label to your quilt! I am planning to try it soon!
MoeWest November 15, 2016 - 9:40 pm
I'm always looking for good ways to label a quilt. I'll try this one soon. Thanks for the post!
T Vernon November 13, 2016 - 8:56 pm
Very timely! I found this as I'm preparing to bind a new quilt! I finally quilted my Row-By-Row for this year!
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:33 pm
Awesome! Glad you found it helpful!
carolyn montgomery November 13, 2016 - 5:39 pm
i love this label idea, will try it out very soon, thanks
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:52 pm
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
MaryBeth November 13, 2016 - 3:54 pm
Great idea for labeling.
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:53 pm
Thanks! I love how fast and easy it is.
Deb M November 13, 2016 - 11:52 am
I've been very bad about labeling. Love this idea!
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:54 pm
Thank you!
Rachel Gagnon November 13, 2016 - 7:34 am
I too rarely label the quilts I made. I am almost done with one just in time to try this new method. Thank you Christine for sharing your knowledge. Rachel
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:57 pm
You're welcome!! Maybe both of us will now label ALL of our quilts LOL!!
Kathy E. November 13, 2016 - 5:45 am
This is such a great way to make and install a quilt label. I usually sew on a square or rectangle shaped label, but then I have the stitching showing on the front. This solves that problem! Thanks!
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:58 pm
Thanks Kathy! I think you'll love this labelling method!
Laura November 13, 2016 - 2:34 am
It's always interesting to see how people label their quilts. Of course you have to actually finish them to get to that point...
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 8:58 pm
So true Laura!!!
Julia Bounds November 13, 2016 - 12:23 am
I'm so glad you published this label method...I put lots of information on my labels, and then pay for it by having to sew them on by hand.......aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh This way 2 sides are sewn in with the binding and the third isn't nearly so much as a large square. Looks like I'm making more triangles really soon. Just a word, though - I use my ink jet printer to print out the information. It requires a couple of steps to make sure the ink is "set", but that can be done days earlier and then pressed and attached as you stated - OR quilted into the quilt. Either way, I'm always glad to see quilts with labels.
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 9:00 pm
I love using my inkjet printer to print the label info too! And next time I'm going to try it using my new label method.
Laura Manning November 12, 2016 - 9:01 pm
Thanks for this quick and easy way to label quilts. Will use it next time, hopefully after winning those lovely northcott fabrics!
Marilyn Snow November 12, 2016 - 8:16 pm
I really like this way of labeling a quilt so that you don't have to do any hand sewing. Thanks for a simple to follow/understand tutorial!
Christine Baker November 13, 2016 - 9:02 pm
You're welcome Marilyn!!
Monique Atkinson November 12, 2016 - 4:00 pm
Another clever idea for making labels, thank you.
Christine Baker November 12, 2016 - 5:40 pm
Dorothy Lawson November 12, 2016 - 11:48 am
Very nice. My writing is never neat enough. The lines would help. I could use my embroidery machine too.
Christine Baker November 12, 2016 - 5:42 pm
I don't have an embroidery machine but I was thinking that it would be awesome to use one for this technique.
Karen Thurn November 12, 2016 - 11:42 am
I do not like to make quilt labels either. Thanks for giving me another option to try. I've heard or read somewhere that museum curators or archivists give more weight to a quilt's authenticity if the quilt label is quilted right in. They contend that labels can be added or changed so the information would be more accurate if it is part of the quilting. I don't think many are done that way.
Christine Baker November 12, 2016 - 5:45 pm
Yes, I've often thought about that too. And I worry that if my quilt is lost or stolen that the label could be removed.
Joyce Carter November 11, 2016 - 7:50 pm
I really enjoyed seeing how you made your label. I am not a big fan of putting labels on my quilts so this is usually a step I forget. But I really like your method. I am going to try this on my next one--that is if I don't forget. (LOL)
Christine Baker November 11, 2016 - 9:01 pm
I think you'll love it!
Cynthia Lonsway November 11, 2016 - 6:23 pm
I would love to win your lovely group of fabrics.
Laurel DeCastro November 11, 2016 - 8:49 am
I always try to make a label for my gifted quilts and projects, especially. It is a history of the quilt and my journey as a quilter. I like the idea of the corner label. Will have to use it on my next project.
Christine Baker November 11, 2016 - 9:03 pm
I think I'll be labeling many more quilts now that I've figured this out :)
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